Tuesday, December 16, 2008

First Video

First Video
Originally uploaded by photogeek21
New toy in the house. Yep my 5d mkII came this week and I've been too busy to really put it to the test (what? how could I possibly be too busy to play with a new toy?)
Anyway, I am totally blown away with its low light performance and the amazing detail a 21megapixel image can contain. So far, none of the issues of the black spots that's all over the message boards have been seen. Then again, I'm not going to go looking for either.
Can't wait to get shooting with this thing.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

A couple of Changes at 10framesasecond.com

Well, a blown out motherboard on my main box shutdown any work on the website for a couple weeks. But now, after many a box from Newegg.com, I'm rockin a killer Intel dual with 8G of ram (my first ever Intel build - but that's another story)
To celebrate the new box's power I'm tinkering with putting some video on the site. Alma usually films each game from the stands and this week the camcorder's battery was dead so I gave her my G9 and showed her how to take video with it - you know what? That G9 blew away our camcorder in terms of video quality and ease of getting out of the cam and into the box - think the Camcorder's going to start gathering dust. (Good, cause before this the G9 was gathering dust - but that's also another story)
Video was converted to .FLV using the Flash encoder in the CS3 suite and it was surprisingly snappy. Uploaded to my site, used the Shadowbox plugin to do the fancy video rolls in my Wordpress blog. - May just take off the wrapper and embed the JW FLV player which works pretty good.

Don't know where I'll take this right now, Thinking I may host the latest week's game. maybe market a DVD for a couple bucks with photo orders or wrap the whole thing up with some stills and make some flash based slideshow/screensavers for download...

Friday, October 3, 2008

Pulled the 'pre' trigger

I've been wanting to go full frame for a long time but couldn't bear to spring for the cash for the 5D when a new one was right around the corner. So when my .rss feeds started to light up with all the 5d mkii announcements I read all the early reports, got all pumped up and went right over to Amazon and pre-ordered the body. Can't wait, This time November I should be rockin' 21Megapixels, gonna have to buy a couple 1TB HDs to go with it!

Friday, September 19, 2008

CSLR Challenge 128 - A knock out!

My entry 'Lights Outs' got the top vote in CSLR Challenge 128. I was very surprised since it was up against some very good entries. Now normally this image would have been part of my effort in getting the TaW series back up since it took a quite a bit to get my flabby, boney 40year old body to look like a boxer but I'm afraid the 'before' pictures are just too embarasing! So just know there was liberal use of the Liquify tool....

Thursday, September 4, 2008

A Pleasant Surprise...

Seems like my shot from the Phoenix Photowalk wasn't that bad after all. I entered it in the CSLR challenge #127:Arcs and it was voted into the top spot! Now, excuse me I need to think of the next challenge topic....

Monday, August 25, 2008

What Fun..

twisted, originally uploaded by photogeek21.

Wrapped up the Phoenix location photowalk. Thought it was a very enjoyable afternoon, Met alot a cool local photographers, got some marketing ideas from some, tips from others. I think the only down side was the heat we had to shoot in. The dinner afterward was my favorite part, think I could have just skipped the shooting and just talked 'shop' with everybody.
Don't think I got too many unique shots - this one is about the only one that I think was different from the others submitted by the group but I enjoyed it none the less and I can check photowalk off my list of things to do in 2008... but you bet I'm going to do another.

Saturday, August 23, 2008

World Photowalk.

Well, today's the day is the day of the World wide photowalk. Over 200 countries, 8000 photographers, this photowalk was started by Scott Kelby to celebrate his photoshop Lightroom 2 book release. I signed up for the Phoenix walk as soon as I heard about it on Scott's video podcast 'Photoshop TV'.
Never having been on a photowalk before, I'm realy looking forward to this new experience, which really surprises me since I'm not much of a sociable person and that's exactly what a photowalk is - a social event where photographers get together, take pictures and talk gear, technique, etc. Okay, we'll see what happens.
What am I going to take?
Well they say "travel light" which means the 10D should be my choice but I think I want more wide angle so the 1.3 crop of my mkII is going to win over the lighter 10D. Just 2 lenses on coming with me - the 24-105F4L and the 17-40F4L, I may drop the 17-40 for the 15mm fisheye. One 580 exII and it will all be around my waist on a Think Tank speed belt - yah - major geek factor with the belt but I'll be among photogs, so I'll blend.
Okay, time to see what this is all about.

Monday, August 18, 2008

#2: CSLR Challenge 126: Tool - Entry

#2, originally uploaded by photogeek21.

My try at being a hand model - for this entry for the latest CSLR Challenge. Basically, a little sandwiched strobe work. - 2 580ex II @ 1/8th power to each side and slightly to the rear. Background is an color burned layer of a rusty shovel. Its my first try at using backgrounds. I recently went around shooting rocks, gravel, stucco, etc. Anything with texture to build up some stock for Photoshop work.

Friday, August 1, 2008

TaW#7:3 apples

3 apples, originally uploaded by photogeek21.

Been a long time since i did a Technique post. But in hosting the 'Old Skool' Challenge that prevented the use of any computerized post processing I came up with this entry. It's basically a composite of one image taken three times with different positions and light sources - all in one exposure.
To achieve this, I setup the camera on a tripod and set an long shutter speed of 5 seconds. Then hand triggered a strobe to light the apple and moved it to a new position, firing the strobe at each position.
Volla, an old school composite without photoshop...

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

What do ya know,

Seems everyone liked my last minute entry and I got first place! Cool, Since it was a self portrait that means my 'mug' has be immortalized in the CSLR challange site. That makes just Matt and Mama that are not in a winning image.
Time to think of a challenge

Monday, July 21, 2008


With less than 24hours left, I submit my entry into the 124th CSLR Challenge. Wanted to keep my misses to a minimum. (Think I missed 2 so far) Anyway, had a bit of fun with this one, since the topic was 'Many Me' and composites were encouraged, I did a little parody of 'the evolution of man' with 'D' Evolution - Rise of the 'Chimp' - I guess the 'D' could be the D series camera I shot with or just the digital camera in general. I was fun getting back into the photoshop stuff again.
Now if I can kick start myself back into posting more often.

Friday, June 20, 2008

Work Really gets in the way of all this.

Ouch! No posts in a while I even missed a CSLR challenge and if I don't get off my butt, I miss another. I know its all just excuses but I've been traveling a lot for work, Canada for a week then off to Germany for another week and when I got back - took some time off with the family at the river. While I was taking snaps, I did no serious shooting in over a month! However, I did pick up a Canon G9 for the trip to Germany... More on that in my next post.

Thursday, May 1, 2008

Everest Base Camp Trek 2009

I've been thinking about doing some photo seminars for quite a while but never found the right one. This one sounds waaaay cool - but how can I talk Alma into letting me out for 3 weeks?

Everest Base Camp Trek 2009

Sunday, April 27, 2008

Shooting Food

"He's in there taking pictures of onions..." I could hear Aly telling her Mom in the other room. Maybe I have lost it - These challenges are harder all the time and I can't seem to take a 'striking' image anymore. I like the image of the onion but it's still just a picutre of an onion. It fits the assignment, Layered composition (ie forground, midground, and background.) but its still just a picture of an onion - I even chose a onion because, just as ogres, onions have layers and I thought it'd be a clever play on the assignment - but in the end, It's still just a picutre of an onion...

body Snatcher

body Snatcher, originally uploaded by photogeek21.

CSLR Challenge #117, "Grounded". Had to try and make a senoran desert mushroom look interesting. Ended up taking this shot at night with 3 strobes to try and encircle the shroom with light. Also used a fish eye to get some interesting perspective. I like the way the mushroom broke through the hard gravel. But in the end I don't think it was enough as It didn't make the top 10 in the challenge....

Sunday, April 13, 2008

Going Out

Going Out, originally uploaded by photogeek21.

Don't know why but I love this shot. Just a bit of vignette and desaturation of all colors but red. I like the soft focus of the shot as well as the highlights off the silver nail polish. All this from just a shot of Alma getting ready for a night on the town.

Flickr Plugin for Lightroom

While I was researching my flickr problem with lightroom, I ran across Jeffery Fried's Photography Blog where he has several plugin he created for lightroom. I installed his flickr plugin and so far it works great. It offers many more options for posting than the original one included with the SDK. I especially like the naming and description options as well as the 'post to set' option. The only thing I wish would be available is to be able to create a new set during posting. But so far, so good. Thanks Jeffery!

Saturday, April 12, 2008

TAW #9: Studio Lighting

Aly-6, originally uploaded by photogeek21.

Got a little more practice in 'the Studio' this month setting up for a Senior Portrait session. It was also the first time using a new grey background I got of Ebay. (I was really getting bored with my typical low key and high key portaits)
This was a 3 light setup, Using my big photogenic studio strobes as the main and hair light. The main light shot through a 24x36" softbox placed about 3 ft from the subject. The hairlight (which is missing her hair and hitting her back in this shot) was about 10' back. for the 3rd and final light, I used my old vivitar 283 flash, put it on a stand with a bout a 6" white snoot to selectively light the background. the white snoot helped soften the edges of the light. While this is a very basic technique, It's my first time trying it and I'm satisfied with the results I got. I think it really adds variety to any background by changing the distance between the flash and the background you can vary the size of the 'halo' also adding gels would add a variety of color to your shots - all with a single background.

The final formula thats been working in my studio is putting background about 12-15' behind the subject to prevent too much light from the main spilling on the background - that way I have control of how the background looks, I'm getting about a 3 stop difference between the background and the subject in this setup which will let me shoot low key or blast it with a big strobe for high key. Another important thing with the distance, is that it lets you throw it out of focus to hide any wrinkles you may have, although with my current 85mm portrait lens this limits me to about F5.6 more than that and I better get the Iron out....

Lightroom 1.4.1 upgrade broke my flickr plugin

Soon after upgrading to Lightroom 1.4.1 I noticed I couldn't export directly to my flickr account anymore. Did lightroom change their plugin structure with 1.4? Well after a little digging on the web I found the problem, seems when I was playing with to original SDK files from Adobe with version 1.3 I put the plugin 'MODULES' directory in \program files\Adobe\Lightroom 1.3 where it was soon abandoned when I upgraded to 1.4 (due to the directory name change)
Moving the directory to \Documents and Settings\user\Application Data\Adobe\Lightroom\ allowed the new version to find just fine on restart. And now everything is right again in my Lightroom world.

Sunday, April 6, 2008

TAW:#8 - less is more.

Floating in a Sea of bokeh
originally uploaded by photogeek21.

"Floating in a Sea of bokeh" was shot for CSLR challenge 116. My other two entrys were full of colored lighting effects and photoshop work to make them spectacular.But this shot leaped out at me and I entered it just as is -(and it place highest out of all my entries). It was my first entry that didn't make a to photoshop. No cropping, tint, exposure adjustments - nothing. It was liberating - and very satisfying to have a shot like this straight out of the camera. Being a geek with all the computer tricks sometimes makes me forget that I'm supposed to be a photographer. And as such, I should 'TAKE' striking images, not 'MAKE' them....

CSLR Challenge 116: Spring Training

Spring Training, originally uploaded by photogeek21.

Keeping the challenges going with this entry of a Angels Spring training edition of a bud light can. Shot in my favorite 'kitchen studio' with 3 strobes, the main from camera right bounced off an umbrella, and the other two behind the subject equal distance apart and at about 20 deg behind the centerline of the subject. This 'wraps light around the ball and bottle to get them to stand out against the black background. And of course I had some fun with the reflection - it was a logo challenge afterall

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Taw:#8 - Cheap Smoke

Okay, I'm cheating by doing two techniques from one shoot, but I trying to prevent renaming all these posts 'Technique a Month'!
- So How did I get that smoke in the Flash in the Can Entry? Well I don't have a smoke machine and you can only really find them around here during Halloween (and I'm too cheap to buy one) so with small objects like this, I used my ultrasonic humidifier which produces a good thick white vapor into my 'Set'.

That's it!

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Taw:#7 - Flash in a Can

Here's a little how to on my latest CSLR entry entitled Just a flash in the can. It's basically, well, a flash placed in a can.
First I took a can of coke, cut the back off of it and used a thumb tack to poke holes along the lines I wanted the lights to show through.
A piece of Aluminum foil was used as a baffle so that I wouldn't have a 'hot spot' right in the center of the can where the flash would have a direct path out the holes - This diffused the light and evened out the 'power' of each hole.
Put the can on the flash and 'Wa-La' you have instant Las Vegas effect on your can!

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

A win for Aly.

Hey Aly's pic, Streetlight, ended up taking first place! That just leaves Matthew to make a complete set. (although he did get a second place finish on his first and only entry so far. We'll have to wait for the right topic.

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

What a difference a background makes.

Had an interesting thing happen in my CSLR entry, Streetlight. I wanted a diagonal crop to emphasize the centered-ness of the photo but of course you can't post diagonal crops on the typical web page so I put it on a grey background that was close to the CSLR background color. Initial I got a few comments that didn't like the crop, saying it was awkward. After showing it to Alma she said it was because the backgrounds didn't match so it looks like some dorky frame around the pic. So I set out to match the background, digging into the page's .css file to find the background RGB values (38,38,38) but photoshop skewed the colors when I converted the image to SRGB so I had to revert to the tweak and test method and eventually found 42,42,42 were the right values - reposting the comments all change on how nice the crop was. You can see the difference in just these two blog entries. - and the pic is currently in 1st place in the 1st day of voting - thanks Mama!

Sunday, March 2, 2008

CSLR Challenge 114 Entry

So again I'm squeezing in a last minute entry in the CSLR Challange. This time around the Challenge is 'Centered Composition' - which I think I got here, but I don't think this diamond framing is working for me. Thought it'd be clever to tilt the composition but guess not. Not a whole lot new going in in this one as far as technique goes. - Well, I did use a ladder to take the shot. Exposed ambient for 2 stops under exposure and used a tight flash to light Aly's face and hands and make it 'glow' (I did apply some 'soft-focus' PP).

I clamped the flash on the ladder and triggered it with a set of Cactus V2s. Need to hack them I did'nt notice any false fires but I had about 20% no-fires! And I was only 3ft away! Gonna try the antenna hack and see if that helps.

Friday, February 29, 2008

A 'Shout out' from the Digital Photography Show

Wow, I got a big surprise today while driving Matthew to school. I was listening to The Digital Photography Show and they commented on my entry in their Photo Contest #7. They talked about it quite a bit and it was a blast to hear my name and work mentioned on such a popular podcast. And while I didn't win the contest due to my interpretation of the theme, they did call me a 'Photoshop Master' :-) The picture that sparked their comments was Giving me a headache which was the subject of TaW 4 & 5 some weeks ago. Sweet!

Thursday, February 21, 2008

The Turning Gate

The Turning Gate

Found this site when looking into hosting my own web galleries to sell from - basically looking at dumping Expoosuremanager and doing my own printing and shipping to increase the profits on my sports photography site : 10framesasecond.com .

This site has several templates that integrate into Adobe Lightroom's web module to make 'useable' galleries that can be indexed and tied together.

This may be the route to go vs. trying to code something from scratch. I gotta see how well a paypal account can be integrated in.

CSLR Challege 113 - a side less seen

Open Wide, originally uploaded by photogeek21.

Keeping with my commitment to continually challenge my photography, I just barely made the cut off date for Challenge 113.
I'm not too proud of my entry - it was soo much better in my mind than when I actually executed it.
I think the light and the perspective mismatch makes it 'not work' for me. I used a small mirror in my mouth to capture my teeth and took a separate pic of the cake and composited the whole thing.
I think the bigger challenge was trying to take a picture through a mirror while sitting in front of the camera without being able to see through the viewfinder!
The pic just made it to 9th place keeping up my record so far at staying in the top ten for all my entries.... so I still getting lucky :)

Thursday, February 14, 2008

TaW: #6 Correcting Blooming in CS3

Here's one I learned from Antonie_K on the Canon SLR Group on Flickr.

Here's a shot with the worst case of blooming I've ever taken. Blooming is basically a problem only found in digital photography and occurs when very bright areas are adjacent to dark ones I has to do with the way the image sensor elements get 'overloaded' with too much light and basically 'bleed' onto adjacent elements. If the situation is right it can happen on almost any digital camera. This shot was taken with the Canon 85 1.2L on an MkII so it's definately not a lens quality issue.

Anyway, to rid ourselves of this nasty purple mess - Open the image in CS3 and apply a HSL layer to the image, change its mode from Master to Blue, using the color picker tool select the offending color (magenta in this case) then turn down the saturation to taste (about -80 worked for this image). Thats it! No muss, no fuss. I imagine that if there was a lot of Magenta color in other areas of the image, that this technique could effect them but it would be nothing a little Layer Mask couldn't fix.

Better description of CA and Blooming can be found here.

Thursday, February 7, 2008

Just a thought: End of the Sports Shooter?

We watched the Superbowl this year in HD and I couldn't help but notice how sharp the freeze frame replays were, I could see blades of grass kicking up off the cleats of the players - It was really that sharp!

This got me thinking, I know HD cameras are only about 2 Megapixels in resolution (for now). But consider the following:
  • Network TV 'blankets the field with cameras (Pop SI had an article on the 2007 Superbowl and they had 48 cameras covering the field) Look at how many different angles they show a replay from.
  • Network TV will aways get the best camera positions - They even have that cool floating camera that can capture overhead shots or the 'Quarterback view' of the field - No Sports shooter could ever get this angle.
  • New stadium lighting is excellent - allowing for the Video Camera's High Speed Shutter modes to capture pure stop action on a single frame - no more motion blur. A friend told me how he saw a game at the new Phoenix Stadium and walked around the entire field and couldn't find a shadow - it was very evenly and brightly lit.
  • Progressive scan tech in HD cameras eliminates the old interlacing issues.
  • Technology is always advancing - CES had some 4 & 8 Megapixel displays - some day this could be the norm. How long before HD video is capturing 4-8Mp images?
  • DSLR sports shooters are almost 'filming' now - The first time I fired off 8.5fps on my mkII, it put a smile on my face. Now we have 10-11fps DSLRs but this still pales in comparison to Video. Video frame rates are almost guaranteed to capture that 'magic' split second.
Media Outlets are getting gobbled up by conglomerates more and more lately - when will they start to exercise their synergies by just grabbing video frames from their TV feeds for their newspapers and magazines?

....so are the days of the sports shooter numbered?

Tuesday, February 5, 2008

Taw#6: Dynamic Menus in Wordpress

Okay, its not a photographic technique but it is something I learned this week that was used for my photographic website, 10framesasecond.com - dynamic menus. Initially I was going to build a website from scratch, and I started out doing that but then I found out how easy wordpress is to use, and the blog format suited routine updates to the site without any further coding. However, one thing I didn't know how to hack into wordpress was how to highlight the current location the user was at in the navigation menu. In HTML code I just would have the change the appropriate menu item's class when the page loaded. But in wordpress, you don't really work in HTML directly and my menu was in the static header and doesn't change with each new page load. I notice one of my templates using an is_home function and I dug a little deeper and found the is_page function which would let me do exactly what I wanted - here's my code:

if(is_page('products')){echo 'class="here"';}

just place this little bit of php in the opening 'a' tag and if the page your user is on is called 'products' it will insert the 'class="here" into the HTML which will cause the browser to used the css info to highlight the item.
pretty simple once ya get the right function. A more comprehensive explanation is here.

Sunday, February 3, 2008

CSLR Challenge: 10x4

mark, originally uploaded by photogeek21.

Had to laugh on this one - I'm forever striving for tack sharp images, pouring money into L glass, high pixel count bodys - so what images am I finding myself liking enough to enter in photo contests? Yea, blurry out of focus ones! Go figure...

Loving this lens

Aly oof, originally uploaded by photogeek21.

Just finished my first shoot with a new 85F1.2L and I am in love. I read alot about this lens so I knew what to expect, great bokeh, razor thin dof, yada, yada - but man I was still floored looking at the my shots. Yes, the micro dof is tough to work with - even in a studio setting but the blur of the out of focus areas is just dreamlike. It may be hard to tell on this low rez image but the contrast between the razor sharp strands of hair and the blur of Aly's face which fell out of focus in less than a 1/4" - It used to be standard practice for me to go through all my shots after a session and delete all the out of focus shots, but with this lens I'm finding that hard to do sometimes.
I debated getting the 70-200 2.8L IS instead but now I have no regrets. There is a down side though - I think I'm seriously hooked on primes now...

Friday, February 1, 2008

Be Prepared.

I did it again... all excited about a shot I had seen on the way home, storm clouds forming around a small set of hills south of our neighborhood. I got home, dropped the family off, grabbed my gear bag and sped back down the road to a small hill that would give me a great vantage point. I whipped out the tripod, whipped out the lens of choice and whipped out the camera... Argh! I left the damn battery in the charger back at home! No worries, it's just a 2 min drive, I'll go get it... well, in the few minutes that it took to grab the battery and come back, that majestic storm cloud dropped right down on the mountain and started raining. The scene was gone, nothing left to do but pack up and learn my lesson.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

CSLR Challenge #111 Results

20080120-Water Wheel-127.jpg, originally uploaded by photogeek21.

So 'lil monsters' from Taw#5 came in Second place in this month's CSLR Challenge. My second entries from the 'Water Wheel' shoot didn't do as well but this one here still came in the top 10 at 8th place. I curious how long I'll be able to keep this up, I imagine it's easy for a 'noob' as myself to do well in the begining, but I can see it being tough to not get into a certain style that just gets stale after a while.

Sunday, January 20, 2008

Okay, I gotta remember to charge my batteries.

I aways drive by these farms every morning on my way to work. During the Winter when the temp drops below freezing, their irrigation equipment gets all these Icicles that form and they catch the rising Sun so beautifully. For years I've been telling myself to stop and take some shot but never did. But with my new focus this year I decided to freeze my butt off and get out there and get some shots.
I arrived before dawn and set up the 'big gun' 300mm on the tripod and waited for the light.
As the sun came up I started the shoot, changing positions, lenses, etc. I set up the camera for 1 stop bracketing with the intent of doing some HDR work. But just as the Sun rose high enough to really make the icicles glisten, my camera shut down! I've been spoiled with my mkII battery life that I rarely charge it - unfortunately it burned me this time! On a long shot I turned on my trucks heater and tried to heat up the battery thinking that it was the freezing temp causing it to go flat a little early. It worked! I was able to take about another 20 or so shots and my favorite was the last one!
Here's some of my favorites from the shoot:

Created with Admarket's flickrSLiDR.

Saturday, January 19, 2008

My Photographic New Year's resolution

Digital ProTalk: 12 Ways to Really Improve Your Photography for 2008

Found this article in my Google reader and I'm using it as a check list for my Photographic New Years resolution. 2007 was the year I started 10framesasecond.com, a youth sports photography site where I started selling my work, 2008 is going to be the year I really look to expand my creative side of photography and really challenge myself to step outside my comfort zone, do more portrait work, and try my hand at some fine art photography.

As far as the 12 ways, I already have several of them down:
#3 Experiment: Check - TaW's are the results of my 'lab experiments.
#7 Start a blog: Check
#8 Aggregate your favorite sites: Check - thanks google reader
#9 Flickr your favorite subject:Check - on several flickr groups.
#11 Enter competitions: Check - Started with CSLR Challenges and DPS contest looking for more to do REGULARLY.
#12 Read DititalProTalk every day: Check - yea David your in my reader subscription base..

Gonna nail the rest of them soon and come out the otherside of 2008 a better photographer!

Taw:#5 - '300' Effect

Well after making the composite in TaW#4, I thought there just wasn't enough punch in it. So I applied the '300' look (from the movie 300) that I learned over on Matt Kloskowski's blog.
I did end up pumping up the blacks a bit and using the recovery slider to bring back some of the highlights - and of course I made one last stop to photoshop for some strong vignetting and burning in the shadows deeper.
Here are the resluts and my entry to the CSLR Challenge:

Friday, January 18, 2008

TaW:#4 - Composite

This week's Taw is a composite, I know everybody does corny composites of themselves and it's one of the first thing a noob tries in photoshop. Well I've never done one before and I was working on an image for this week's CSLR challenge which was a 'Free Study', So I thought I'd give it a try.
Here are the beginning images:

I thought to make the composite more interesting, I'd make Matthew interact with 'himself' in the photo. I drew a picture of what I wanted in the final shot and had Aly fill in the interacting positions so that mathew would have something to grab or a shirt to pull etc. She would be masked out in the final image.
CS3 has a cool new function that makes compositing a breeze now - 'photomerge' which automatically loads each image on a new layer then anaylzes each image and perfectly aligns them with one another. I did use a tripod so the alignment was already done but just the automation of putting each image on a separate layer and putting a mask on each layer is a big time saver.
After that it's just a matter of using the mask of each layer to reveal what you want to show on the final image - so here's the final composite:
I used my big studio strobes bounced off the back wall to create ALOT of diffused lighting but more importantly to have even lighting across the whole area - Lately I've been taking the 'Strobist' approach and using my 580exII but this called for a bit more power.

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Good showing in CSLR

I was surprised to find that both pics I entered in the CSLR challenge placed neck and neck at 4th and 5th place. Stop, from TaW#3 placed 4th, and Sweetheart, sweetheart did much better than I expected as I thought it was just way to heavily photoshopped, it doesn't even look like a photograph and alot of photographers hate that. I'm sorta jazzed that both placed so high, I just know my 'censored' pic would have taken first, oh well, at least I don't have the burden of running the next challenge.
See the contest results here:
Eligible Photo Gallery by CSLR Challenge at pbase.com

Saturday, January 5, 2008

On Flickr's Explore page

Seems my TaW#3 pic, Stop, is getting a lot of traffic on Flickr. I breifly hit the front page and right now has settled in at #14 of 500 for today. Don't know what this means, but it's pretty cool. All this from my 'second best' shot of the shoot.(the first was censored -see previous post).

TaW:#3 - Dramatic Light

Here's a shot I did of Aly for a recent Pink Floyd assignment - wanted to do something inspired by the albumn 'The Wall', you know, "hey teachers - leave them kids alone"...

Canon 1dsmkii 17-40 F4L 200s@F4 ISO 200

It just didn't have any drama to the pic so I thought this would be a good one to work on some dramatic lighting effects. Basically all Dodging and burning. This is really like painting on the picutre with light. The trick is to set the exposure at a very low setting (I was using 10%) you'll barely notice any change, but with each successive stroke you'll slowly add the definition your looking for. This technique is only needed when doing the subtle work on the face and some of the light areas. For a lot of the major burning on towards the edges of the photo, I used a non-distructive technique by creating a new layer with a blend mode of Multiply and anywhere I painted black would be burned in on the composite. The only draw back to this mode is you don't have the control over what tones you burn (shadows, Midtones, or highligts) like you do with the dodge and burn tools.


Obviously, I composited in some tile in the background for effect (also heavily burned)
All in all a pretty dramatic effect on the picture

Thursday, January 3, 2008


Well it seems that even I can fall victim to censorship. For my latest entry for the CSLR challenge I chose Aly for the model. The topic was Pink Floyd lyrics and I had an idea for 'Shine on you crazy diamond' which I intended to protray Aly as a burned out child star. I shot her huddled in a corner, curled up in a ball. I photoshop'd it with some dramatic lighting techniques, which I'll post here as a TaW since this blog is solely for my benefit.
Anyway the resulting pic was truely a winner in my eyes... but it was pretty disturbing... actually a bit too disturbing for Mama to approve. After looking at it again, I had to agree. Now it's back to the drawing board...